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OAW Indoor Sports Complex in New Berlin suffers partial collapse from severe weather

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Posted at 4:47 AM, Jul 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-06 18:20:32-04

NEW BERLIN, Wis. — The roof of the OAW Indoor Sports Complex in New Berlin partially collapsed, in large part due to rain and severe weather Tuesday night, authorities say.

A city of New Berlin spokesperson wrote in a statement that crews responded to the building around 7:47 p.m. for a partial collapse with as many as 50 people inside. They shut off the natural gas line to the building because a strong odor was coming from the front door.

The owner of the building told fire crews that he was confident everyone got out, after reviewing onsite security camera footage.

The spokesperson says crews deemed the building "very unsafe." No one is allowed back in the building. The roof collapsed on the southwest corner of the building, and the entrance is blocked off and is being guarded by police officers.

"The cause is still under investigation and Structural Engineers are working with the City of New Berlin Inspection Department to further assess and determine the cause of the collapse," according to their statement.

The facility is located at 5330 S. Racine Ave.

OAW Indoor Sports Complex said in a statement the building opened in October of 2021. It will remain closed until the building is repaired, the owners said.

“What’s most important to us is that no one was injured as a result of the incident. Everyone in the complex evacuated safely,” said Aaron Kahle, co-owner of OAW Indoor. His construction company built the building, he said.

“We are committed to finding the cause and making repairs so that the complex can reopen and continue serving the community," said Kahle.

They are working with building inspectors and authorities to find out how several inches of water possibly caused the partial collapse of the roof.

OAW shared the news on its social media accounts around 8:45 p.m. A few hours prior to the storm, the indoor sports complex shared pictures online from its Tune-Ups event.

"A packed house," OAW said on Facebook. "Over 90 athletes putting work in."

The National Weather Service issued a Flash Flood Warning for Milwaukee and Waukesha counties ahead of severe thunderstorms on Tuesday. New Berlin is located along the Milwaukee and Waukesha County border.

TMJ4 News reached out to OAW Tuesday evening and they declined to comment on the situation.

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